Information for patients
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What are Patient Initiated Follow-Ups?
Patient Initiated Follow up (PIFU) is a new way of arranging your hospital outpatient appointments.
Currently regular follow-up appointments are arranged by the hospital within a specific timeframe, for example, every six months or every year.
Some patients find these regular visits useful and reassuring. For others, it can be frustrating or stressful coming to hospital if they do not feel they need to.
Through your PIFU plan you can arrange follow-up appointments with your hospital care team when you feel you need them, or if your symptoms get worse. This puts you in control of your follow-up appointments and gives you access to support and guidance when you need it most.
How do Patient Initiated Follow-Ups work?
If your hospital care team think that PIFU might be suitable for you, they will discuss this with you, and if you agree then you will be placed on a PIFU plan. This means you will not receive regular follow-up appointments anymore, and will need to contact the service if you feel that you need one.
Your PIFU plan will explain when it would be appropriate to contact the service for an appointment and how long you should expect to wait for your appointment.
Your hospital care team will tell you how long your plan will last for, and you will be on a dedicated PIFU waiting list which will be checked regularly. In most cases, if you do not need to see your hospital care team at all within this time period you will be discharged back to your GP. Your GP will refer you back to the hospital if you need to be seen again in the future.
There will be some patients with conditions where it may not be appropriate for you to be discharged from the hospital. Your hospital care team will discuss this with you and make you aware of what will happen at the end of your plan.
If you are under the care of more than one department, it is important to remember that your PIFU does not apply to all of them. Some departments may still send you regular follow-up appointments and it is important that you attend these so that they are able to monitor your condition.
What do I need to do?
If you are placed on a PIFU you will be sent a letter to tell you which symptoms you should look out for, and it’s important that you keep this. If you experience any of these symptoms please contact the service as soon as possible to arrange an appointment. The contact details for the service will also be available in the letter.
If you experience any symptoms not listed on your letter you should contact your GP or phone 111 for advice.
How do I book an appointment when I am on a Patient Initiated Follow-Up?
To book an appointment, call the number on your letter and ask for a PIFU appointment.
To arrange an appointment you must:
- Have been placed on PIFU having discussed this with your hospital care team.
- Contact the service within the time-frame advised in your letter.
Why are we introducing this new type of follow-up?
This type of follow-up that is led by the patient offers a number of benefits:
- You have more control over your follow-up appointments and when you have them.
- Appointments are made based on your individual needs.
- For many people it will mean they do not need to come to hospital as often, meaning less time off work and travelling.
- With fewer patients coming in when they do not need to, we can make appointments available more quickly for those that do need them.
- We can also reduce our carbon footprint by lowering the number of patients travelling to the hospital unnecessarily.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long will I have to wait for an appointment if I need one?
Because you are on PIFU, if you need to be seen because your symptoms have worsened you will be given an appointment within the timescales agreed with your hospital care team, as per your PIFU care plan.
Why have you set a deadline for me to have made an appointment by?
Your plan will last for a specific amount of time. Your hospital care team will talk to you about how long you may need to keep your plan open. This will depend on your condition and the judgement of your medical team regarding how long you may need before you can be discharged back to your GP, if this is appropriate.
How do I provide feedback on my experience of PIFU?
Following your appointment or visit, the Trust may contact you for feedback. The Trust values your feedback and undertakes a number of surveys to gain a better understanding of the experience of our patients and to improve services. You may be asked for feedback via text message, telephone, email or letter.
If you do not wish to participate in a survey then please contact our Patient Experience Team on 01642 624719 Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 4pm, messages can be left on the answerphone or email via [email protected]
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet Reference: PIL1394
Date for Review: 09/11/2025